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It's Springtime in the Penokees!

It has been weeks since I have even logged in here, let alone even thought of anything worthy to say.  I have been busy doing way too many things but none of them really noteworthy.  Such is Spring in the far north where it is more of a horrific experience at times rather than a joyful one, because of the weather and cold relentless east winds off lake Superior.  For a long while I have been meaning to come here and post my Springtime in the Penokees beaded cuff, but the thing that was missing was an actual picture of the cuff in the Penokee's in Spring. 

This is a bracelet with a story.  It is a map, starting with Copper Falls State Park in the Penokee Hills in far Northwestern Wisconsin, not far from the shores of Lake Superior. 

Springtime in the Penokee's

In far northwestern Wisconsin near the shores of Lake Superior we are in a fight for our lives and the lives of future generations. The threat of unsafe mining practices looms large.

Decapitating the Penokee Mountain Range by using the proposed mining practice would result in sulfuric acid as a by-product in an area rich with rivers, lakes, and bogs. Downstream, the nearby Bad River Reservation would be directly affected as the Tribe stands to lose their main food staple Manoomin, which is the wild rice that grows in our northern lakes, except where mining by products have caused wild rice dead zones. The Reservation lands would turn into a toxic cesspool.

 Eventually, this all flows into the largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Superior, also known as Gitchee Gummi, named by the Ojibwe meaning shining blue sea, or "big water".   The green jewel near the top of the cuff in the last image represents Madeline Island, the largest of the Apostle Islands archipelago, which includes 22 islands and is located in far northwestern Wisconsin, off the Bayfield Peninsula. Twenty-one of these islands, and a 12-mile segment along the shore of Wisconsin's north coast, comprise the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

This is not just northwestern Wisconsin's fight, but it is a world fight! We are only using this space, it belongs to our grandchildren and their grandchildren.


Bracelet map:  A butterfly flutters above, in nice clean air, of course. The Falls represents Copper Falls State Park flowing in to the sparkling Bad River, while seagulls fly above.  I used vintage rhinestones to not only represent how the water sparkles like diamonds in the sun, the waters are more precious than any diamonds. All of the landmarks in this piece are represented by beautiful vintage jewels.


As we move downstream from Copper Falls, the sparkling Bad River continues towards the Bad River Reservation on it's way to lake Superior.


The enameled copper focal bead which represents Mother Earth, as well as the two enameled copper flower tubes were made by Duluth Mn artist Sarah Lukkonen of C-Koop beads. 


I don't know for sure which is my favorite part, Copper Falls, or the bald eagle flying over Bad River Reservation. The Reservation is depicted by the green vintage crystal jewel.


The blue rhinestone jewel  on the bottom represents the many area freshwater lakes.  This is where Manoomin grows, represented by three tube beads sewn in above the lake.   On the top of the bracelet, the green jewel represents Madeline Island, off the coast of Bayfield, the sapphire large jewel to the left and slightly below it.


The back of the cuff.  It is mounted on a brass cuff blank, which is lined with ultrasuede.


This piece took me approximately 70 hours to construct.  While working on it, I truly did shed blood sweat and tears.   Blood from many needle pricks, sweat during feverish beading episodes, while feeling driven to do this piece, and many tears, over what this piece represents went into that time. That we even have to have this argument over the shady practices of some lawmakers and Gtac mining company who did everything they could to change our strict environmental laws to their advantage and get the legislation through to make this mine happen is insane. 


I leave you with a map of the area, should you wish to see it.  Copper Falls is approximately in the middle, by the pine tree, and you can follow the Bad River to the Reservation and then into Lake Superior.

A map of the area...


This is the music I listed to while working on this piece:



Thanks for stopping by and having a look!  Hope to be back soon with some other new things, and I have more pictures of the Penokees and Michigan U.P., but for now, this will have to do. 



Reader Comments (2)

your beadwork is amazing! I'd cry doing it!
March 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergene
Thank you Gene, I shed many a tear over this one..
June 5, 2013 | Registered CommenterStephanie

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